Dec. 24, 2004 Christmas time is here again, and for many that means presents and time spent with family. For a few the thing they love most about this time of year are the decorations on the houses the Christmas lights.
For Barbara Marcelli, it's all about the lights. Although the V.I. Housing Authority employee does not put up any lights of her own, she enjoys the effect of lighted houses and parks.
"I take pleasure in driving around and looking at the lights," Marcelli said Friday. "However, I think that there's less Christmas lights this year."
Marcelli's sentiments were felt by others in the community who have noticed a reduction in the number of houses with Christmas lights this year.
"There really are fewer lights this year," said Darrell Dowers, an Anna's Retreat resident, speculating that maybe it is because of the increase in the V.I. Water and Power Authority's rates.
A recent decision by the Public Services Commission authorizing WAPA to automatically adjust its rates based on the fluctuations in the oil market has left the territory's consumers with higher power bills.
One family, who was not at home to speak with the Source on Friday, even had a sign on their lawn stating: "Sorry, no lights due to WAPA hikes."
For others, the electric bills were not a problem.
Harris Fahie, an Anna's Retreat resident who decorates his house each year, said the hikes in WAPA's rates did not deter him.
"I do it each year whether the current goes up or down because I like Christmas," Fahie said. Fahie's house is attractively decorated and could be seen from miles around on its perch on the hill near the V.I. Housing Authority main office.
Some others wish it would be like areas on the mainland where residents are given incentives for decorating.
Attorney Tom Bolt said although he doesn't decorate the outside of his home he usually lights up his two Christmas trees. He reminisced fondly of a small town, Pelzer, S.C., close to where he grew up.
"The electric company there provides free electricity for the month of December so residents can have the Christmas lights display," Bolt said. "People drive from miles around to see the displays. Some individuals even decorated themselves and plugged themselves in."
No such incentive is given in the Virgin Islands for those who want to decorate their homes during the Christmas season, however. Here, residents decorate at their own expense.
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